With the Continental GT road car tipping
the scales at a luxurious 5,115lb, the
first order of business for Bentley and
technical partner M-Sport to turn it into a
thoroughbred racer involved weight loss.
“When you strip away a lot of the luxury
and safety from the car, it’s a state-of-the-art, high tensile strength monocoque, which
is no heavier than any other competition
car,” Bentley’s director of motorsport, Brian
Gush, explains. “So once we’d taken out the
creature comforts and safety elements, we
MAKING A TON OF DIFFERENCE
ROAD CAR TO RACER
were working with a monocoque that was
very good and extremely strong.
“We’d done our homework prior to
selecting M-Sport as a partner, and we
knew we could get to a weight under
1,300kg [2,870lb] quite easily, thanks to
the car’s layout and the design work we’d
done during the feasibility study.
“Then it was a case of diligently working
through the detail design and manufacture
to make sure we stuck to our weight.
When we were done, we homologated
within a kilogram of our projected weight,
so we were pretty pleased with that…”
The Continental GT’s all-wheel-drive
system added weight that could easily be
removed and, through its deletion,
positioning of the 4-liter, twin-turbo V8
was the next item for optimization.
“Removing the all-wheel-drive system
meant we could repackage the engine,”
says Gush, “so we moved it rearward and
down within the engine bay, as one is
allowed to do in the GT3 regulations.”
Given the road car’s
potent baseline engine,
development work on
the GT3’s 4-liter, turbo
V8 has been minimal.
The production Continental’s
large-displacement V8 and twin
turbochargers meant Bentley
had little to do in the horsepower
and torque department for the
GT3. Mated to a 6-speed Xtrac
sequential transmission in place
of the road car’s 8-speed
automatic, M-Sport lowered the
throaty mill and moved it as far
rearward as possible to enhance
weight distribution. Engine
management is provided by
“The core engine is identical
to the road car,” says Brian Gush.
“We have the turbos mounted
on the outside and it’s dry
sumped. But apart from that, the
race engine is the road engine.
“All the internals are stock.
The externals have changed
somewhat, so the manifolds are
bespoke, as dictated by the
packaging. We’ve used stock
parts wherever possible, because
GT3 is ultimately for customer
racing and we want to make sure
that owning this car isn’t more
costly than our competition.”
Torque is somewhere north of
500lb.ft. and power at or near
600hp in unrestricted form.
THE HEART OF THE GT3